Introducing Shake-a-Rater: Realtime Gestural Voting for TV
Author Name
Tom McDonnell

13th May 2011

Voting is dead. Is voting dead?

Introducing the Shake-a-rater concept.

We think telephony and SMS voting in talent shows is a broken concept. When you can buy a great app for 79p, and when a round-the-world Ryanair holiday costs about £3, you expect a bit more bang for your buck. Rumour has it that the number of people voting in big shows has declined sharply in recent years.

There's another problem for TV producers - to get my Mum to vote she's got to really care about a contestant and it takes time before she cares enough to vote. What about all the great self-contained format ideas that would benefit from audience decision-making, but don't have the luxury of a 3 month run?

We'll see a range of experiments over the next year or so, including voting on Facebook using credits and people being given special content in return for their vote.

Isn't it all still a bit boring?

We're thinking differently; what if we could create a voting experience that was actually fun to do? The Wii moved console gaming firmly into the family living by using gestures to control simpler games, and the Kinect is the fastest growing consumer electronics device on record.

It's early days and still in prototype & concepting, but here's a taster of what we're working on:

The Shake-a-rater

Shake it!

Live results to TV

How does it work?

Shake-a-rater is like a gestural clap-o-meter. It's intended for iPhone and Android devices which have accelerometers, with an HTML5 version that uses the space-bar to tap votes in (if you remember Daly Thompson's Supertest you're old), or on iPad a swipe gesture.

When the presenter shouts "Rate!", the home audience have a fixed amount of time to shake or tap their ratings. It's not Php Aide easy to get up to the maximum, you really have to give it some. The studio audience will also be shaking.

Realtime results flow through our backend platform directly into the studio and to live TV graphics so we can visualise how the country is responding live.

The show will reach a crescendo and when the rating window has closed, we announce the final results.

What are the Challenges?

Obviously the audience have to own a smartphone and download an app - and that's a barrier. But there's an accessible web version which is equally fun, and we think it could be great way to up-sell an app with enhanced content bolted on.

The business model is an interesting question. Do you charge credits for voting? It's worth considering, but there could be more benefit in sponsorship - it's a highly engaging activity that could add a great deal of value to a telecoms/mobile network sponsor. It could even be part of a self-contained TV spot.

What do you think?

Let us know by commenting here or @monterosalondon